Day 15 - The End of the Blue Cruise
Olympos Travel Blog› entry 15 of 42 › view all entries
On the last day of our Blue Cruise the weather finally decided to do the right thing by us. When we awoke, the skies were blue and the air was still. Whilst many of us were tempted to jump straight into the crystal clear waters as soon as we got up, we held back until after breakfast (where the Turkish breakfast routine was broken up by French toast), when I led the charge over the side. The water cold alright but tolerably so and since there was no breeze to speak of, it wasn’t too cold out of it. Michelle and I took this dip as an opportunity to play about with the diving mask and snorkel that we’d purchased for ourselves just prior to departing on our travels and amused ourselves by diving to the seabed to gather a number of broken plates and glasses that must have fallen overboard on a previous boat trip. The captain seemed a little confused as to why we seemed so determined to fill his rubbish bin up with someone else’s junk but we couldn’t stand such a pristine area being littered like that.
The waters were clear but in all honesty, the area we’d stopped for the night had nothing interesting to look at. No fish, coral, etc. It was great just to paddle around though.
At about 11am the captain raised anchor and took us past the “pirate cave”. Brooke, Robert and Greg jumped overboard and swam into the caves but the rest of us were too busy still trying to warm up from our previous swim that we lacked the enthusiasm to join them. The stop at the pirates cave was very short though and the captain quickly moved us on to a sheltered cove, just around the corner from the town where he was to drop us off (Demre).
The sunshine continued to warm us all and most of us embraced the opportunity to have one last swim before the end of our trip. The water wasn’t any warmer but we were able to swim ashore and dry off in the sun before returning for lunch and to pack our bags.
We pulled into Demre at about 3pm and a tender came out to meet the boat (which had moored 30m from the harbour) and gather all of us and our belongings. Thinking we were unlikely to see most of our fellow passengers again, we all said our goodbyes. It turned out we a little premature, as they piled us all onto the same bus and drove us into town.
Once we had settled in we went to the “Hanger” for a couple of drinks. Whilst there, Michelle introduced herself to Kadir (the owner) and he and a friend of his who were overseeing the reconstruction activities told them the story of the fire (even showing a video of it capture on a mobile phone). Michelle then asked about backgammon and Kadir’s mate rose to the challenge of teaching us a thing or two. Michelle went first and was hurried through her game. The bloke continually corrected her when she made (what he thought were) poor decisions and hurried her through the game (as the ships captain had done the night before when Michelle played him).
We had dinner at Kadirs (it’s inclusive when you stay at Kadirs) and a few beers and then decided that we wanted to see Chimera at night. There was a guided tour departing at 9pm but a group of us decided to save ourselves a few pennies and walk there ourselves. I still don’t know who knew where they were going but we did get there. It took 1.5 hours to get there and we needed to get our feet wet along the way there and back but it was well worth the effort. The flames of Chimera burn eternally. Gas seeping through the rocks was ignited at some point in the past and has burnt continuously since, or that’s how the story goes. The fires burn in a number of locations, all within close proximity of each other, on one face of the mountain. Their flames aren’t huge but they are plenty warm and were very welcome after the long walk in the cold and dark.We were even happier with our decision to walk there ourselves when we discovered that all those who had paid for the guided tour (which took a minibus to the site) returned only a short while before us. Whilst we had to walk about 7-8kms each way, their bus route was along a long, slow, winding road so they got back at midnight. We were in bed by 1am.